1965: Lorenzen's Silver Lining

By Mark Aumann, Turner Sports Interactive January 10, 2003

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The rains came at precisely the right time for Fred Lorenzen, who used a combination of luck and strategy to win the seventh annual Daytona 500.

Known primarily as a hard-charger, Lorenzen gambled that fuel economy would beat sheer speed in 1965.

He and chief mechanic Jack Sullivan decided to run a higher gear in Lorenzen's 1965 Ford, gambling that with only four pit stops, Lorenzen could still hold off the rest of the field, which would have to stop five times.

While pole-sitter Junior Johnson was setting a torrid pace with laps in excess of 170 mph, Lorenzen was forced to draft faster cars in order to keep pace. But Johnson's car blew a right front tire on lap 27, throwing him into the guard rail and out of the race.

That made it a three-car battle at the front between Bobby Johns, Marvin Panch and Ned Jarrett. All three pitted on lap 69, putting Lorenzen in front for the first time.

However, once Lorenzen ran low on fuel nine laps later, the trio motored by, with Panch holding the lead on lap 80 when it first began to rain.

Following 32 laps under caution, Johns and Panch resumed their fight at the front. Both stopped for refueling on lap 119, handing the lead back to Lorenzen, who by then held a lap advantage on the entire field.

Within eight laps, Panch had pulled up right behind Lorenzen. Heading down the backstretch in a driving rainstorm, Panch tried to make up his lap by passing Lorenzen on the high side but clipped his bumper, sending both cars spinning out of control.

Panch's car spun into the infield while Lorenzen's car clipped the guard rail, righted itself and continued down the track as the caution flag was unfurled. Lorenzen was able to maintain his position behind the pace car for the next six laps before NASCAR officials called the race official at 332.5 miles.

Darel Dieringer wound up second, followed by Johns, Earl Balmer, Jarrett and Panch.

With the victory, Lorenzen became the first driver to win races at all four southern superspeedways. Ironically, Lorenzen had also won the previous superspeedway race shortened by rain.

Defending race winner Richard Petty and other top Chrysler drivers did not run in the 1965 race because of NASCAR's ban of Chrysler's hemi engine.

1965 Daytona 500 Results

1.  Fred Lorenzen
2.  Darel Dieringer
3.  Bobby Johns
4.  Earl Balmer
5.  Ned Jarrett
6.  Marvin Panch
7.  Dick Hutcherson
8.   Sam McQuagg
9.   Cale Yarborough
10. G.C. Spencer

This is one in a series of articles counting down to the 2003 Daytona 500 on NASCAR.com

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